(CN) – The 3rd Circuit dismissed as “frivolous” an appeal by members of the so-called “birther movement,” who believe President Obama is ineligible for office until he “conclusively proves” that he’s a U.S.-born citizen.
Four men sued Obama and the federal government, claiming Obama violated their Fifth and Ninth Amendment rights when he took office without proving his citizenship.
They also sued Congress, former Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for allegedly failing to “properly vet and verify” Obama’s birthplace and citizenship.
They claimed Congress had “fully investigated” the eligibility of 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, but made no similar inquiry for Obama, in violation of the equal protection clause.
The Philadelphia-based federal appeals court upheld an order dismissing the claims for lack of standing.
Two of the plaintiffs tried to distance themselves from a similar “birther” claim that was dismissed on the same grounds by citing their past military service. The veterans said they took an oath to defend the Constitution and serve a legitimate commander-in-chief.
But Judge Dolores Sloviter said the alleged injury was “too generalized” to confer standing.
“[N]o court has found that a plaintiff established an ‘injury in fact’ simply because s/he had once taken such an oath,” Sloviter wrote. “Carving out an exception on that basis would still leave an impermissibly large class with the unique ability to sue in federal court.”
Sloviter said the First Amendment claims “are without merit,” because “the individual right to petition does not ‘require government policymakers to listen or respond to individuals’ communications on public issues.”
The court ordered the plaintiffs’ counsel to show cause for why sanctions should not be imposed for filing a “frivolous appeal.”